Posts Tagged ‘activist’

Volunteers make the world go round: we must thank them

08/12/2011, 09:23:36 AM

by Peter Watt

Everyone loves an activist. Political parties simply couldn’t operate without them. Those with shared values and purpose, who dedicate themselves to furthering the success of their party by spending hours fundraising, leafleting, stuffing and knocking on doors. My personal pet hate over the years has always been street stalls – I hate them. But elections couldn’t be won without them, as the machinery of delivery would quite simply grind to a halt.

But there are other forms of activism that are not overtly political, but that nevertheless are also values lead and also worthy of merit. The chair of the community group, the scout or guide leader and those that run sports clubs on a Saturday morning. What about magistrates, hospital visitors or those who spend time cleaning out canals. Or samaritans, trustees or school volunteers. All examples of people who give up their unpaid time to be active in the pursuit of something that is for the good of others.

Just think about it. Could you really be a parent, or work or volunteer at something else, and still be active enough in the Labour party to get noticed? Possibly; but it would be pretty difficult and you almost certainly wouldn’t see very much of your family. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Monday News Review

21/06/2010, 08:16:10 AM

The Leadership Race

“Ed Balls has hailed himself as a “winner” as he set out why he is the best man to replace Gordon Brown as Labour leader. The shadow education secretary said he had successfully fought the Tories and BNP to secure his Commons seat as he insisted he was “in touch” and a “team player”.” – The Mirror

“There’s always this assumption if you’re a black person who’s done something, that someone has given you a bye. That you’re less qualified than the white equivalent. In this race I’d argue that if anything, with the exception of not having been a New Labour minister I’m more qualified.” –Diane Abbott, The Mirror

“I look at the Labour party leadership election through the eyes of an MP who won a seat against the odds. Labour had its worst result for decades and the Conservatives won. It’s no good pretending otherwise. I want Labour win the next election. But it must for a better reason than merely being back in power.” – Gisela Stewart,  Progress

“I want to learn from Labour in Scotland because the way the party have come back from a difficult result a few years ago is a model and inspiration. As leader of the Labour Party, winning back control of the Scottish parliament would be my first priority.” – Andy Burnham, The Daily Record


“Public sector workers across the country will be deeply concerned to have a review of their pensions sprung upon them on a Sunday morning – without proper consultation. They will be particularly worried given the comments by David Cameron and Nick Clegg in recent days about their desire for cuts to public sector pensions. The Government must make clear that the findings have not been pre-empted.” – The Independent

“Labour leadership contender Diane Abbott said Mr Hutton would be the Government’s ‘pensions- slasher-in- chief ‘, while Left-wing Labour MP Paul Flynn said ‘collaborator’ was ‘too nice a word’ for him.” – The Mail


“So we already know what Labour’s broad response to this week’s Budget will look like. But it got me a-wondering: what will their response to next year’s Budget be? This may sound like idle speculation” – The Spectator

“David Miliband, the shadow foreign secretary, has offered a token of support to Tony Hayward after the embattled BP chief executive came under fierce criticism for going sailing around the Isle of Wight.” – The Telegraph

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Thurday News Review

10/06/2010, 07:40:14 AM

And then there were five

Diane Abbott made it through nominations

“FIVE candidates will fight for the Labour leadership after backers of the favourite, David Miliband, lent their support to less-fancied rivals. Mr Miliband, his brother Ed and former Schools Secretary Ed Balls had already secured the 33 nominations needed before yesterday afternoon’s deadline. But the former Foreign Secretary allowed some of his team to nominate left-winger Diane Abbott and former Health Secretary Andy Burnham, in a bid to ensure a more diverse line-up of candidates.” – Wales Online

“Former ministers Jack Straw, Denis MacShane and Phil Woolas were among the other surprise names to deliver Abbott the 33 MP nominations she needed. Miliband and the others made their move after another leftwinger, John McDonnell, withdrew from the race.” – The Guardian

“The Labour Party now has its final five leadership candidates – and it’s a broader field than initially expected. The left, women and BME voters will now be represented in the race – but most of the diversity is thanks to one candidate only – and she still went to Cambridge.” – Labour List

“The left-wing MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington joins David and Ed Miliband, former children’s secretary Ed Balls, and former health secretary Andy Burnham on the list […]But Ms Abbott’s presence on the ballot paper was only thanks to a late flurry of support after fellow left-winger John McDonnell quit the race and called on his backers to get behind her.” – The Scotsman


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Sunday News Review

06/06/2010, 08:04:50 AM

The candidates

“The insipid campaign has laid bare the paucity of talent on Labour’s benches, and the party’s ideological exhaustion. No serving Cabinet minister lost their seat at the election; Tony Blair aside, the Milibands and Ed Balls are the best Labour has. That’s a grim prospect if your colour’s red. Ed Balls has the panache of a Vauxhall Safira; and the two Milibands are trapped in a Beckettian whirl of meaningless jargon, convinced that using abstract nouns is a mark of vital intelligence.” – The Spectator

“”They have all grown. I got on very well with Ed during the campaign. But in the end you’ve got to make a judgment. Of all of them, I think David [Miliband] has got the most rounded political and policy skills that you need. I’m a pragmatist about this. I think about who can take on Cameron best.”” – Alistair Campbell, Independent on Sunday

“One rival, Ed Balls, Gordon Brown’s anointed heir, offers a clear contrast as a centraliser in the Fabian tradition, backed by Unite, the giant union. He has one great achievement to his name for which we can all be grateful: he convinced his master that Britain should stay out of the euro.” – The Times

“Labour leadership hopeful Ed Balls says he is the man to take Labour back to Number 10. As the campaign to find Gordon Brown’s successor gains momentum, the former schools secretary said he is the only candidate to hold on to the “New Labour understanding”. – Staffordshire Newsletter

Movement for Miliband

David Miliband says he will reform the Party

“Mr Miliband said: “We are at a very, very important moment. Instead of the leadership being ashamed of the membership the membership feels let down by the leadership, and it’s really important that those of us in a leadership position understand that. A fundamental part of correcting that is to reconnect the leadership with the membership.”” – The News of the World

“They include allowing Labour members to elect the party chairman; launching a “find-a-friend” campaign to double Labour’s membership; training Labour Party members to become community organisers; and maintaining, in opposition, the requirement for the Labour leader to have weekly meetings with a committee of backbench MPs.” – Press Association

Policy pronouncements

“As Labour seeks to rebuild trust with the British people, it is important we are honest about what we got wrong. In retrospect, Britain should not have rejected transitional controls on migration from the first wave of new EU member states in 2004, which we were legally entitled to impose. As the GMB’s Paul Kenny and others have pointed out, the failure of our government to get agreement to implement the agency workers directive made matters worse.” – Ed Balls, The Observer

“In a BBC Politics Show interview later, Mr Balls is also expected to urge more debate about policy in the contest. Mr Balls’ comments could be a sign that dividing lines between candidates was opening up, says the BBC’s Iain Watson. David Miliband, another leadership hopeful, will also be speaking to the BBC to outline his proposed party reforms.” – The BBC

Burnham sprint finish

Andy Burnham hopes to make the cut

“Burnham’s campaign managers said yesterday they believed he would secure enough support to run. In his pitch to MPs tomorrow he will criticise new Labour’s courting of big business, saying it sent out the wrong message to the party’s core supporters. “We were in the thrall of big business. We lost sight of the impact that had on individuals and their circumstances,” he plans to say.” – The Times

 “Andy Burnham is set to win enough support to battle for the Labour leadership. Party sources say the ex-Health Secretary will get the required backing of 33 Labour MPs before Wednesday’s deadline to be the fourth and final contender for the top job.” – The Sunday Mirror

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Jude Hanlon looks through the letterbox

19/05/2010, 11:05:51 AM

As well as being political activists my husband and I run our own computer support company. Recently we’ve been doing a lot of research into effective and unusual marketing techniques, and we’ve been exploring the crossover between business and political marketing.

The two problems with political marketing are getting it picked up – then getting it read. And then having enough credibility and persuasion in your content to get the reader to vote for you, and then getting the rest of their household to vote for you as well.

This spring the big hurdles were “they’re all the same” and “we never see anyone”, along with the general ennui which always underlies local elections. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Rob Carr recommends a rest

18/05/2010, 09:47:01 AM

Now is a time for recovery for election activists.  Whether from dog-bites, worn feet or just our general levels of sanity.  There are no more major elections for a year.  Party conference isn’t until September.  Now is the time for us to get together in committee rooms, pubs, and around kitchen tables. To enjoy each other’s company.  To be refreshed.  A time to share our tales from the campaign.  Whether it’s stories of ever-larger dogs we have faced down in our mission to deliver leaflets.  Ever smaller letter boxes snapping on our fingertips.  Ever soggier leaflets falling apart in our rain-soaked hands.  

Or memories like the man who told me and a roomful of campaigners that he was going to break into his old house to retrieve his postal vote so he could cast it for Labour.  (We talked  him out of it, in case you’re wondering. He went to his polling station.)   There was the voter who answered his door naked while I was canvassing one evening.  An unpleasant experience, but a confirmed Labour vote all the same.  Or the moment when Labour Party nobility, Sir Jeremy Beecham, popped his head round the corner as I was canvassing and started miming at me.  Surreal then, but hilarious in the pub later. And – my personal favourite of the 2010 election – the Labour promise whom,  on election day,  I had to convince hadn’t cast her vote the previous week via Facebook.  I’ve no doubt we all have a good collection of similar stories and experiences to tell,  and now is the time to relax,  reflect,  and enjoy them.

But not for too long.  Just long enough to ready ourselves for the battles to be joined. Because once we’re done resting and reminiscing about the various characters, the incidents tragic and comic, and the madness of polling day, we have to start thinking about what comes next.  Gordon Brown has returned to the back benches for the first time in 20 years. With the loss of the election, we’ve come to a natural time to pause and review. Now is when we think about new direction, new policy, and new leaders.

Read more from Rob Carr

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon